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A History of Indian Philosophy, Volume 1

Is by transcending all conceptual creations


The soul as bhutatathata means

the oneness of the totality of all things (_dharmadhatu_). Its essential nature is uncreate and external. All things simply on account of the beginningless traces of the incipient and unconscious memory of our past experiences of many previous lives (_sm@rti_) appear under the forms of individuation [Footnote ref 1]. If we could overcome this sm@rti "the signs of individuation would disappear and there would be no trace of a world of objects." "All things in their fundamental nature are not nameable or explicable. They cannot be adequately expressed in any form of language. They possess absolute sameness (_samata_). They are subject neither to transformation nor to destruction. They are nothing but one soul" --thatness (_bhutatathata_). This "thatness" has no attribute and it can only be somehow pointed out in speech as "thatness." As soon as you understand that when the totality of existence is spoken of or thought of, there is neither that which speaks nor that which is spoken of, there is neither that which thinks nor that which is thought of, "this is the stage of thatness." This bhutatathata is neither that which is existence, nor that which is non-existence, nor that which is at once existence and non-existence, nor that which is not at once existence and non-existence; it is neither that which is plurality, nor that which is at once unity and plurality, nor that which is not at once unity and plurality. It is a negative concept in the sense that it is beyond all that is
conditional and yet it is a positive concept in the sense that it holds all within it. It cannot be comprehended by any kind of particularization or distinction. It is only by transcending the range of our intellectual categories of the comprehension of the limited range of finite phenomena that we can get a glimpse of it. It cannot be comprehended by the particularizing consciousness of all beings, and we thus may call it negation, "s'unyata," in this sense. The truth is that which

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[Footnote 1: I have ventured to translate "_sm@rti_" in the sense of vasana in preference to Suzuki's "confused subjectivity" because sm@rti in the sense of vasana is not unfamiliar to the readers of such Buddhist works as _La@nkavatara_. The word "subjectivity" seems to be too European a term to be used as a word to represent the Buddhist sense.]

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subjectively does not exist by itself, that the negation (_s'unyata_) is also void (_s'unya_) in its nature, that neither that which is negated nor that which negates is an independent entity. It is the pure soul that manifests itself as eternal, permanent, immutable, and completely holds all things within it. On that account it may be called affirmation. But yet there is no trace of affirmation in it, because it is not the product of the creative instinctive memory (_sm@rti_) of conceptual thought and the only way of grasping the truth--the thatness, is by transcending all conceptual creations.

"The soul as birth and death (_sa@msara_) comes forth from the Tathagata womb (_tathagatagarbha_), the ultimate reality. But the immortal and the mortal coincide with each other. Though they are not identical they are not duality either. Thus when the absolute soul assumes a relative aspect by its self-affirmation it is called the all-conserving mind (_alayavijnana_). It embraces two principles, (1) enlightenment, (2) non-enlightenment. Enlightenment is the perfection of the mind when it is free from the corruptions of the creative instinctive incipient memory (_sm@rti_). It penetrates all and is the unity of all (_dharmadhatu_). That is to say, it is the universal dharmakaya of all Tathagatas constituting the ultimate foundation of existence.


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